Visitation & Custody Issues

by Robert the Concerned Father from Orlando, Florida, Orange County


I will try to keep this short and to the point. Since the split, I was unable to see my daughter on a regular schedule.


The mother uses her as a weapon any chance she gets.

Recently had mediation in Sept. 2010. Paternity order is in place stating I have legal rights now.

Since mediation I have missed a total of 25 days lost time with my daughter.

Few days ago was a contempt of court hearing for makeup time. I was granted my time(thank god!) Judge actually told her she could lock her up if she does this again. I have not seen my daughter in over 3 weeks.

Side note: She is a classified bi-polar manic depressive. Acts out of emotion 99.9999% of the time

Questions:

1.
I know for a fact she is now dating a convict and he lives in the home with our daughter. He is on probation for drug charges. Also has a DUI and is driving her car around. I saw him in it, but without my camera......Does this help my case in any way? I also know he has recently violated probation for drugs.

2. Given the above facts and a few I am sure you will ask me, how does this help my case in obtaining primary custody of our daughter as the mother is clearly not looking out for the best interest of the minor child.

3. She violated the agreement again the day of court by making it very difficult to obtain custody of my daughter on my given day, do I call contempt yet again or let it play out to collect more days in the case against her.

Answer to Florida Custody & Visitation Question

Dear Robert,

You are well on the right track. The judge already is on your side. Be very careful to keep it that way.

My suggestion is that you document everything, and always take the higher road.

Try to keep the exchanges with your ex in writing so that you have proof come court day.

The fact that there is drug abuse in the home is a factor that could easily sway a judge in awarding you sole custody of your daughter.

Keep track of the boyfriend's shenanigans without going overboard or stalking anyone.

Check the arrest notices if your area publishes, etc. If he has a recent DUI and he is driving – he may be driving illegally or he may not be.

That issue is most important to you if you have reason to believe he is driving illegally with your daughter in the car.

The fact that your ex is bi-polar and apparently not properly medicated is also persuasive to the judge to grant you sole custody. Bi-polar personalities are no joke. They are among the most difficult to deal with.

My suggestion is that you try to work with the present situation for the time being as best as you reasonably can. If at any point, you feel your child is in imminent danger, you have every right as a parent to refuse to return her to her mother.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Visitation & Custody Issues

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Temporary Visitation & Mediation
by: Rebecca from Bradenton, Florida

I am a single non-married mother of a 10 month old daughter. The father and I broke up months before she was born. He is an alcoholic and a drug user that has been in and out of rehab several times. He can't drive because of loss of license for various offenses. Can't hold a steady job and has no permanent residency. He lives with various friends and his parents until they throw him out. His parents live in a 55 and up community so he can't permanently stay there.

We went to temporary mediation with lawyers and I was told that the best I could hope for was that he gets her every other friday, sat, sun, and then on Wed when he sees fit, at his parents place. I was told to make a list of things that she needed and that he would need to get before the first visit. I got there and they had nothing but a crib and car seat, I had to go out and get food and lactose free milk. She is lactose intolerant.

It was also noted that there would be no smoking around her, she was born with lung problems because of inhaling feces contaminated amniotic fluid. I would have to be very careful with her for at least the first year. On the second visit I was informed that she didn't eat all day sunday and I found all of her food still in the cabinet from the previous week. He said it didn't matter what she ate and drank and he and his parents would smoke where and when they wanted.

He constantly calls me a stupid f--- b--- and that he and his lawyer have a good laugh every time my lawyer sends him a letter that he is violating the agreement. What can I do? Is my lawyer not stepping up? I am afraid for the safety of my child as the parents have a dog that doesn't like children and bites. My lawyer said this is the best situation, even if he doesn't live anywhere, the courts would let him still have her where ever he is sleeping that night. Help me understand this.

--Something doesn't sound right here. First of all, if you feel your daughter is in physical danger you can call DCS and get them involved. You can ask your lawyer about asking the court to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to look after the best interests of your daughter.

I'm not sure if that would be feasible as both sides have legal representation, but it wouldn't hurt to ask about it. As far as the conduct of your lawyer, you can always find another lawyer, and if you think there is misconduct, you can always contact the Florida Bar and file a complaint. --Staff

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